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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the State Corporation Commission (SCC) that approved a new surcharge for Virginia-American Water Company (VAWC), holding that the SCC had statutory authority to approve the new surcharge and that the evidence was sufficient to justify the SCC’s approval. On appeal, Appellants argued that the SCC had no statutory authority to approve the new surcharge and, in the alternative, that the evidence was factually insufficient to justify the approval of the surcharge. The Supreme Court disagreed, holding that not only did the SCC have the statutory authority to approve the surcharge but that sufficient evidence in the record supported the SCC’s finding that the rate was “just and reasonable” under Va. Code 56-235.2. View "City of Alexandria v. State Corporation Commission" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court held that Petitioner filed her petition for writs of mandamus and prohibition against the Board of Supervisors of Loudoun County in violation of Va. Code 8.01-271.1 and that an appropriate sanction against Petitioner is the costs and attorney’s fees incurred by Loudoun County in defending against this petition. Invoking the Court’s original jurisdiction, Petitioner filed a petition for writs of mandamus and prohibition against the County. The Court dismissed the petition and issued a rule to show cause why the Court should not impose sanctions against her due to her string of frivolous lawsuits relating to Petitioner’s challenges to Loudoun County’s authority over the property of the former Town of Waterford, an unincorporated municipal entity. The Supreme Court entered judgment in favor of the County in the amount of $4,377. View "Madison v. Board of Supervisors of Loudoun County" on Justia Law

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At issue was whether the circuit court abused its discretion when it dismissed a complaint with prejudice upon sustaining a plea in bar for failure to comply with a contractual condition precedent before filing suit. Plaintiff filed a complaint against Defendant alleging breach of contract. Plaintiff had filed a similar breach of contract action against Defendant, which he nonsuited. In the current action, Plaintiff alleged that he entered into an employment agreement with Defendant that Defendant later breached. Defendant filed a plea in bar to the complaint alleging that a written request to mediate was a condition precedent to initiating legal action. The circuit court found that the mediation provision was a condition precedent to filing suit, that Plaintiff did not satisfy this condition, and that the appropriate remedy was dismissal of the complaint with prejudice. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that, under the circumstances of this case, the circuit court did not abuse its discretion in dismissing the complaint due to Plaintiff’s failure to comply with a mandatory condition precedent to filing suit. View "Primov v. Serco, Inc." on Justia Law

Posted in: Contracts

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court entering an order enforcing a merger agreement between two churches, holding that the trial court had subject matter jurisdiction to adjudicate this dispute. The two churches in this case entered into a merger agreement memorializing a merger between the churches. When one of the churches (Defendant) decided it wished to withdraw from the “proposed” merger, the other church (Plaintiff), instituted this action. The jury returned a special verdict in favor of Plaintiff, finding that the parties had reached a merger agreement and that Plaintiff had performed its obligations under the merger agreement. The trial court entered a final order in accord with the merger agreement and the jury’s verdict. Defendant sought to vacate the trial court’s order, arguing that the trial court lacked subject matter jurisdiction to enter it. The Supreme Court disagreed, holding that the trial court had subject matter jurisdiction either to adjudicate a breach of contract claim or to issue a declaratory judgment on the merger contract, and a pending bankruptcy did not foreclose the trial court’s adjudication of the merger contract. View "Pure Presbyterian Church v. Grace of God Presbyterian Church" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court in this qui tam case filed by Relators alleging that several laboratories illegally inflated the bills they submitted to Virginia’s Medicaid program, holding that the trial court did not err in concluding that Relators were entitled to twenty-eight percent of the proceeds of the gross proceeds of the settlement in this case. After the parties settled, the parties disagreed with respect to whether Relators were entitled to twenty-eight percent of the gross proceeds of the settlement or whether the twenty-eight percent share should come out of the Commonwealth’s net share of the proceeds. At issue was the provision in Va. Code 8.01-216.7(B) that the relator is entitled to a share “of the proceeds of the award or settlement.” The Supreme Court held that the proceeds of settlement means the gross proceeds and, accordingly, affirmed the judgment of the court below. View "Commonwealth v. Hunter Laboratories, LLC" on Justia Law

Posted in: Public Benefits

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The Supreme Court held that the circuit court did not err when it found that an automobile graveyard was a lawful nonconforming use because the use began prior to the enactment of the county’s zoning ordinances and had not been discontinued. The Acting Zoning Administrator of Price William County determined that the use of one parcel as an automobile graveyard was not a lawful nonconforming use. The Prince William County Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) upheld the Administrator’s denial of the non-conforming use verification for the parcel. The circuit court reversed the BZA’s decision, finding that the use of the parcel as an automobile salvage business operation predated the zoning ordinances of Prince William County and that the pre-existing lawful nonconforming use was never abandoned or discontinued. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the lawful nonconforming use of the parcel as an automobile graveyard was not terminated by discontinuance of the use. View "Prince William Board of County Supervisors v. Archie" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals upholding Defendant’s conviction for rape, holding that the circuit court’s finding that Defendant’s waiver of his rights under Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966), was knowing and voluntary and that the court’s decision to admit into evidence a recording of Defendant’s interview with police officers was not in error. On appeal, Defendant challenged the denial of his motion to suppress statements he made during the police interrogation. Defendant argued that his statements made to police officers through an interpreter were obtained involuntarily and that he did not make a knowing and intelligent waiver of his rights under Miranda. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme court also affirmed, holding (1) the record supported the circuit court’s finding that Defendant had the requisite level of Spanish comprehension to make a knowing and intelligent waiver of his Miranda rights; and (2) the circuit court did not abuse its discretion in concluding that there was an adequate foundation to admit the recording of the interview into evidence. View "Tirado v. Commonwealth" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court vacated in part and reversed in part the decision of the circuit court reducing the amount due on a deed of trust note (note) and entering a confessed judgment for the reduced amount without the agreement of Catjen, LLC. Hunter Mill West, L.C. (HMW) executed the note payable to the predecessor in interest to Catjen. HMW failed to repay the note in full by the date of maturity and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Catjen’s predecessor filed a claim for the amount it asserted was due on the note. The bankruptcy court sustained HMW’s objections to the claims and accepted HMW’s calculations. Catjen subsequently foreclosed on the property that was used as collateral for the note. The attorney in fact then confessed judgment against HMW in favor of Catjen. Citing Va. Code 8.01-433, HMW moved to set aside the confessed judgment. The trial court modified the confessed judgment, awarding Catjen the amount based on HMW’s calculations despite Catjen not agreeing to the amount due. The trial court denied the motion. The Supreme Court vacated the confessed judgment and reversed the trial court’s judgment on the amount due, holding that the trial court erred by failing to place this case on the docket for a trial on the merits. View "Catjen, LLC v. Hunter Mill West, L.C." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the court of appeals affirming the trial court’s denial of Defendant’s motion to suppress and upholding his convictions for several drug and firearm-related offenses, holding that probable cause existed for the warrantless search of Defendant’s vehicle. Defendant argued in support of his motion to suppress the evidence discovered during the warrantless search of his vehicle that the police lacked probable cause to conduct the search. The trial court denied the motion, concluding that Defendant’s furtive movements, nervous demeanor, and possession of a digital scale containing suspected cocaine residue provided the requisite probable cause. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that, under the facts of this case, there was sufficient evidence to establish that the police officer had probable cause to search Defendant’s vehicle because there was a “fair probability” that contraband or evidence of a crime would be found. View "Curley v. Commonwealth" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court held that a general appearance after the entry of a final judgment that is void ab initio because of the absence of personal jurisdiction does not, by itself, convert the prior void judgment into a valid one. A landlord obtained a default judgment against a commercial tenant and its guarantor for unpaid rent. The judgment was void as to the guarantor because the landlord failed properly to serve the complaint on him. The circuit court, however, found that the guarantor had entered a general appearance during post-judgment enforcement proceedings and thereby waived any objection to the validity of the default judgment. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the circuit court erred in denying the guarantor’s motion to vacate the default judgment because the judgment was void as to the guarantor. View "McCulley v. Brooks & Co." on Justia Law